New test offers clarity for couples struggling to conceive

Infertility affects 10% to 15% of couples globally, and while often viewed as a women’s health problem, men contribute to around half of the cases. Now, a male fertility test based on Cornell University research could help predict which men might need treatment and which couples might have success with different forms of assisted reproduction.

“The ‘Cap-Score’ test is designed to provide information on the man’s fertility that they never had before,” said Dr. Alexander Travis, professor of reproductive biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health and the test’s inventor. “Now the doctors can discuss these results with the couple, and help them choose the personalized treatment pathway that is right for them to try to get pregnant, including how to improve the man’s fertility.”

The research was published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online. Travis is senior author and co-founder of the company that developed the test.

Cap-Score quantifies the ability of sperm to undergo a process called “capacitation,” which enables the sperm to fertilize an egg. Only sperm that capacitate are capable of fertilizing. By contrast, traditional male fertility exams rely primarily on semen analysis, which counts sperm and assesses whether they swim and look normal.

Infertility and most male infertility cases remain unexplained due to a lack of diagnostic testing. The Cap-Score can now provide crucial missing information to help guide their choices, Travis said. “

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